Progams To Help Displaced Federal Civilian Employees Obtain Employment

FPCD-82-75: Published: Sep 28, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided the results of its evaluation of job placement programs which are available to federal employees who are affected by reductions in force (RIF).

About half of the respondents to a GAO questionnaire, which was sent to a sample of federal employees who had received specific RIF notices, said that they lost their federal jobs; and about one-third of these separated employees were still unemployed when they completed the questionnaire. Respondents were more successful in finding employment on their own than in finding jobs through federal placement programs. Only 16 percent of the sample were placed in another job through one of the federal placement programs before they were scheduled to lose their federal jobs, and only about 20 percent of those who found employment after losing their federal jobs found those jobs through a federal placement program. Although the Office of Personnel Management maintains that it and agency placement programs placed 7,576 employees during fiscal year (FY) 1981, the number of actual placements attributed to these programs is not reliable. About 24 percent of the employees in the GAO sample who were facing imminent job loss said that they had never heard of any of the placement programs. GAO questionnaire results also showed that the RIF's were costly both in terms of lowered morale and productivity and in terms of expenditures for severance pay, unemployment benefits, and lump-sum leave. On the basis of the GAO sample, it was estimated that these latter expenditures totalled at least $20 million as of the end of April 1982 for employees separated in FY 1981. It is too soon to determine whether RIF's will produce long-term savings.

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